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BBC news logoApprenticeship ‘U-turn’ will help poorest teenagers

From April 2017, a new levy on company payrolls will help to double government spending on apprentices, say ministers. Under the scheme, businesses will be able to use vouchers from the levy to pay for apprenticeships.

The government says the aim of the £2.5bn apprenticeships plan is to boost the number of people of all ages able to gain high-quality skills and experience, and to improve the overall skills of the workforce.

Business critics of the scheme had originally feared it would be inflexible, while colleges said that amendments announced during the summer recess would have seen cuts of up to 50% for apprenticeships for the poorest teenagers. Businesses were also concerned that a demand that they spend their vouchers within 18 months did not fit with their existing recruitment and training cycles.

The latest changes include:

  • an extra 20% of funding to train 16- to 18-year-olds
  • more money for employers to train apprentices in the poorest parts of England
  • more money for employers who take on apprentices under 24 years old who are in care or who have special educational needs
  • 24 months for businesses to spend the vouchers. 

Theresa May on Brexit: UK to lead world on free trade

Theresa May has said the UK will be “the most passionate, enthusiastic and convinced” supporter of free trade in the world after it leaves the EU.

The prime minister, who attended her first European Council meeting at the weekend, told MPs the government would “develop our own British model”. She expressed her disappointment at the stalling of free trade talks between the EU and Canada. Labour accused Mrs May of overseeing a “chaotic Brexit”.

Formal exit negotiations will not begin until Mrs May triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, something she has said will be done by the end of March 2017. This means Brexit, backed in a UK-wide referendum in June, is likely to take effect by the summer of 2019.

Heathrow chosen for expansion with third runway

The government has approved a third runway at Heathrow to expand UK airport capacity. Ministers approved the long-awaited decision at a cabinet committee meeting on Tuesday.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called the decision “truly momentous” and said expansion would improve the UK’s connections with the rest of the world and support trade and jobs.

He will make a statement to the House of Commons about 13:00.

Expanding airport capacity in the South East of England has been a political hot potato for many years. Although Heathrow has always been the favourite among businesses, it has attracted the most opposition from MPs with constituencies near the airport or under flight paths.

A public consultation will now be held on the effects of airport expansion before the government makes a final decision as part of a national policy statement on aviation. MPs will then vote on that decision in the winter of 2017-18. It is unlikely that any new runway capacity would be operational before 2025. Construction is not likely to begin until 2020 or 2021, the Airports Commission has said.

Source: BBC

TheTimesEurope vote will not raise price of new cars, insists Pendragon

Competition in one of the Europe’s most buoyant car markets should mean UK prices will not go up despite the dive in the pound, Britain’s largest car dealer has pledged.

In a trading statement to the Stock Exchange, Pendragon said: “We do not anticipate any material effect on new vehicle policy as a result of exchange rates.”

Trevor Finn, the chief executive, said that about 90 per cent of car owners were effectively renting their vehicles on monthly personal contract purchase schemes. Most were locked in and even if manufacturers wanted to push through rises in monthly payments, competition, the recent cut in interest rates and the potential for inflation to increase residual prices when selling on meant that forecourt price tags were staying where they were. 


Electric cars will see off hybrid rivals within years

Hybrid cars could be redundant by the end of the decade because fully electric vehicles are developing at such a pace, according to experts. Glass’s, the motoring guide, said that hybrids were likely to be a “passing phase” and would be superseded by electric cars “in a matter of a few years”.

It came to the conclusion even though hybrids, which are powered by a combination of conventional engines and batteries, outsell pure electric vehicles by almost eight to one.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that almost 62,000 hybrids were registered by last month, compared with 8,107 electric cars. The biggest selling hybrids include the Mitsubishi Outlander and Toyota Prius.

Rupert Pontin, director of valuations at Glass’s, said that many motorists had been attracted to hybrids because they wanted a green car but were concerned about the range of electric vehicles and the availability of roadside chargers. Last month Renault revealed the Zoe, an electric car with a range of 250 miles. BMW claims to be working on a car that will have a range of more than 370 miles.

Source: The Times

guardian logoPetrol cars allowed to exceed pollution limits by 50% under draft EU laws

New European cars with petrol engines will be allowed to overshoot a limit on toxic particulates emissions by 50% under a draft EU regulation backed by the UK and most other EU states. Campaigners say that a simple €25 (£22) filter could drastically cut the pollution, but the Guardian has learned that car-makers have instead mounted a successful push for loopholes and legislative delay.

Bas Eickhout, a Green MEP on the European parliament’s environment committee and dieselgate inquiry panel, promised action to ensure that the lessons of the VW scandal were learned. With this ridiculous proposal, the EU’s member states are again trying to dilute EU laws at a terrible cost to human health. We will call on the European commission to come to the European parliament and explain themselves on this issue,” he said.

Source: The Guardian

daily telegraph logoEU exporters have more to lose than the UK from tariffs after Brexit

Companies across the EU would suffer more than double the hit from trade tariffs than their UK counterparts if Britain leaves Europe without a free trade deal, research from the right of centre think-tank Civitas says.

It would cost EU businesses in the 27 remaining member states a total of some £12.9bn every year to export their goods into the UK if a deal is not reached with Europe and trade is conducted under World Trade Organisation rules, Civitas found.

In contrast, British firms would face tariffs of £5.2bn a year on goods exported to the EU after Brexit. However, the £5.2bn cost to Britain to sell goods across the EU was higher than the hit taken by any single country remaining in the EU exporting into the UK, the Civitas data showed. German exports to the UK would face tariffs of £3.4bn, and French exports £1.4bn.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

ReutersLogoNissan-Renault says open to partnerships to develop new car technologies

Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Renault SA are open to partnerships with other companies to equip their vehicles with sophisticated technology as automakers race to develop the cars of the future, the pair’s connected vehicles chief said.

Global automakers are competing with industry rivals and technology firms to develop self-driving cars and mobility services such as car sharing as the growing use of technology and artificial intelligence may eventually diminish the role of drivers, threatening the traditional model of car ownership.

“We are in the spirit of collaboration,” Redzic, who joined the alliance earlier this year after working for companies including Nokia and Motorola, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

“There are some other companies which would like to build everything in-house, but … we are willing to partner when it makes sense.”

This year has seen a handful of automakers partnering car sharing service providers, including General Motors Co and Lyft Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and Uber Technologies Inc, and Volkswagen AG and Israel’s Gett.

Source: Reuters

Posted by Sue Robinson on 28/10/2016